You should know something about me.
It doesn’t take much for me to enjoy food. I don’t have a very sophisticated palate (Bobby Flay is turning his nose up at me right now), and I couldn’t tell you if a sauce has thyme in it or if the risotto needs more lemon rind (actually, I’m pretty good about the latter, but the former – forget about it). I can tell you that I will probably eat all of whatever you’re offering me (as long as it’s vegan, of course), and I have about 1,000 favorite dishes, so for me to list twelve of my favorites is kind of a big deal.
Please Note: These [from the Earth] dishes are subject to change if I come across a new one that blows my vegan socks off.
12. cajun-style shrimpless grits
Yum. I love this dish for a few reasons:
- It’s simple. Sauteé veggies while cooking your grits (add some vegetable broth to your water, and some non-dairy nut milk after taking them off the heat), make cajun sauce with either cayenne, your favorite hot sauce, and vegenaise for a nice spice.
- It’s satisfying. This will satiate your craving for comfort food, guaranteed. Don’t forget to toast up some sourdough to scoop up some of the goodness once you’ve eaten all of the veggies.
- It’s scrumptious. The caramelized onion and sweet peppers with the warmth of the grits and spice of the sauce – stop it. I broke my rule… I’m drooling.
11. baja bean tacos with verde sauce
Tacos. I love tacos. You can essentially make a different version of tacos every night for a full week and feel like you’re eating a completely different meal. We’ve recently dedicated a night to tacos. Maybe you’ve heard of it? #tacotuesday #actuallyitstequilaandtacotuesday
With my Baja Bean tacos, I love a good flour tortilla. Maybe I used to eat Taco Bell and Chilis fajitas too much, but unless it’s a hard taco, corn just doesn’t do it for me. Gotta be flour (hey, you can make it healthy with whole wheat! It’s just not the same for me). I cook lentils in a mixture of vegetable broth and water (look hard, they’re in there!), season with taco spices, toss with some seasoned black beans (garlic, onion powder, cilantro & salt), throw on a warm tortilla or taco shell, top with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, avocado (not pictured but omg) and your favorite verde salsa.
Don’t forget the margaritas!
10. basil pesto pasta and bruschetta
You may not believe me when I say this, but I’ve been eating pesto pasta at least once a week since I was in middle school. I used to buy those Knorr dry sauce packets in bulk. I originally mixed them with water, but as I got more knowledgeable in the kitchen, I’d add olive oil to them. Since then I’ve moved onto jars for their convenience, and Fresh Market has one by Cipriano with potato flakes instead of cheese, so that’s my go-to now. There’s good reason why I don’t make fresh pesto all the time! I eat it sparingly now so I don’t feel like making a whole thing of it for one quick meal, and I have trouble keeping basil alive for very long (shh! my current basil plant is doing well, I don’t want to jinx myself). Essentially what I’m saying here is that you can either make your pesto or buy it, I promise neither your stomach nor your company will ever know the difference!
I love pine nuts, so I top my pesto with them – they have the best nutty flavor and neatest soft texture! The bruschetta is one of my faves (I guess that’s why it’s on here!) and so incredibly simple. I like to chop tomatoes, peppers and red onion and toss them in a bowl with either some homemade balsamic dressing (recipe coming soon) or about a 2:1 ratio of olive oil to balsamic vinegar, plus salt, pepper, dried basil & oregano, crushed garlic and rosemary, and let it soak in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Drizzle your favorite bread (french, sourdough, ciabatta) with olive oil and toast until crispy – you don’t want it to get soggy! Top with mixture and eat. Immediately.
9. ultimate garden fresh sandwich
If you haven’t made a simple cold veggie sandwich, you’re missing out. Luckily, there’s time to make this quick, healthy, del-ish-us sandwich, and chances are you already have everything you need to make it.
To assemble your Ultimate Garden Fresh Sammy, you’ll need one or more of the following:
→ Bread [I love sourdough or a seedy multigrain]
→ Fresh Cut Vegetables [my go-to’s are lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, shredded carrots, celery and tomatoes; alfalfa sprouts are a must-add if you have them!]
→ Condiments [I’m a condiment fiend. Give me vegenaise or give me death! Also, spicy deli mustard is a must for me, but regular yellow will do just fine.]
Top with some salt and pepper and you’re good to go. Things can get a little messy, but these are my ‘dirty’ dishes, so you should be prepared for that 😉
8. Italian ‘sausage’ & peppers over pasta
If you’ve ever used Tofurky® Italian sausages, you may know that they are delicious. That is, if you cook them properly…
I once made the mistake of making ‘sausage’ and peppers in a rush without cooking the sausages as directed, i.e. not long enough or in the same fashion as the package told me to. Let’s just say I was staring at the bathroom mirror cursing myself for a while afterward. Hey, it’s better than undercooked animal guts! Tee-hee. Anywho, this dish can really also include our Spaghetti ‘Bolognese’ made with half pre-made sauce and half homemade (depending on how much time we have) and some Beyond Meat® beefless crumbles, because they are both amazing and true to my Italian side. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fed my half Italian, although you’d think he was full Italian, Dad and him have no idea that it was a cruelty-free meal – until I told him afterward, of course.
We also love this with Gardein® meatless balls; they even have the caraway seeds in them like true Italian meat dishes do! We sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft, then cook the ‘sausages’ according to the package. You can either then remove them and slice, or simply add the sauce on top of them and doctor it up a bit (as I always do) by adding extra spices (garlic, duh), herbs and maybe a little red wine. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes, and when you’re ready to cook the pasta (we always use brown rice or brown rice & quinoa combo; best texture, way better than durum semolina!), add your other meatless products (if you’d like meatballs or ground beef instead of sausages) and simmer with sauce until pasta is ready.
Toss and enjoy! (Y’all must add garlic bread, it’s a sin not to…)
7. California Tex Mex Mash Up
This one was my fiancé’s brain child, and holy mackerel, was it a phenomenal one. Super easy, filling and a flavor bomb in your mouth.
Red potatoes sautéed until soft, mixed with vegan chorizo, thrown on top of tortilla chips with fresh sliced avocado, tomatoes and salsa. Boom. Add vegan cheese or sour cream, if desired, but the only thing we added was hot sauce! I just ate and I’m already hungry again. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser! I’m thinking 4th of July and Superbowl?
6. Colorful Asian Stir Fry Slaw
We had no clue what to make one night. We ended up deciding to clean out the fridge and throw a bunch of stuff together, and this happened.
Carrots, red onion, broccoli, purple cauliflower, tossed with any vegan Asian sauce (we probably found this one at Trader Joe’s, let’s be honest), and you’ve got dinner. Can be served over rice, with pasta, or as we ate it, straight out of the pan. Don’t be afraid to make a full meal out of veggies!
5. Maple Apple Pecan Slow Oats
I’m falling in love with this picture; it’s like a warm blanket that I just want to dive into and wrap myself all up in it, cozy as can be. That’s basically how it feels when you eat it.
Boil oats in a mixture of water and nut milk (I love coconut because of it’s creamy, dreamy texture) according to instructions. While cooking, heat as much maple syrup as you’d like, keeping in mind that the oats will take a lot of it into themselves and you want some on top. Add some brown sugar and cook until boiling, then turn the temp down to simmer. Add half a capful of vanilla extract with your sliced apples (or pears!) and sauté on low until soft. Fold chopped pecans or walnuts, top your oats and enjoy – I hope it’s cold where you are, so you can warm up with this!
4. Very Vanilla Sugar Pancakes
I honestly struggled when naming these redonculously delicious pancakes because I don’t think there’s a word for how
damn amazing they are. Topping them with Steve’s Coconut Milk Burnt Sugar Vanilla ice cream was almost a bad idea, it was so good. I made them for a brunch not long ago that we hosted for a few friends, and I only made one pancake for each person. It was so filling, but you wanted to have a plate of them just so you wouldn’t start crying when you were nearing the end of eating what you had.
I may have teared up a bit.
They are so easy, I’ll make a post on them to highlight their amazingness, but they only take 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes to consume a whole batch – almost. I topped with some vanilla-infused sugar after dolloping on two huge scoops of Steve’s. Have y’all had this ice cream?! Holy cow. Careful, though – they make some with ‘grass-fed dairy’, like that makes it any better. Be sure to get the dairy-free flavors!
3. Avocado Breakfast Hash
My brother-in-law (future, but who’s counting?) made this for my fiancé and I when he stayed with us earlier this year, and we were both absolutely blown away. Sauté sweet potato, onions, cabbage (weird, I know, but trust me!), bell peppers and some celery. Top avocado toast with mixture. Be impressed. Awesome brunch meal. It’s filling and will allow you to see straight a little longer while downing those bottomless mimosas.
2. Margarita Basil Pesto Pizza
Pizza used to be everything to me.
Then veganism came along, and thanks to what I learned and saw, cheese was no more appetizing than the spit dribbling out of my brother-in-law’s 120-pound St. Bernard’s jowls. Thankfully, aside from buffalo & BBQ ‘chicken’ pizzas with no cheese, Miyoko’s Kitchen brought pizza back into my life, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Side note: she also brought CHEESE back into my life… You’ve got to try her Double Cream Chive spread. OMG. It’s like I’m eating something I shouldn’t.
Throw a pizza stone in a 450 degree oven. Spread olive oil on your crust with some garlic powder – not garlic at this point, as it will burn. We buy store bought crust on the regular, and Rustic Kitchen’s Sourdough is our favorite. Although I’ve made it from scratch before, I’m not patient enough to wait for the yeast. Character flaw, I guess. Once the crust is on the stone, reduce the oven temperature to 400 and crisp the crust until lightly brown all over, about 5-8 minutes. Top with your favorite pizza sauce, fresh tomatoes, basil, Miyoko’s mozzarella or favorite vegan cheese, and pesto (homemade or otherwise). Feel free to add chickenless strips, if you’d like some more substance. Slice, pop a move on, and enjoy!
1. Smoothie Smorgasbord
Last but most certainly not least is my obsession with smoothies. I make them almost every morning, sometimes before breakfast or as breakfast if I’m running behind on time, and they almost always have a mix of fruits AND vegetables in them, just to cover my bases.
Sometimes after a long week of chaos, traveling, or just from having limited food in the house (rare, but it happens), and we feel like we need a boost of health or nutrition, I’ll make one up on the fly. No matter what, we always have spinach, bananas, beets and blueberries in the freezer ready to go at any time.
Here’s one of my favorites to make if you have similar ingredients on hand:
- Frozen Mango
- Frozen Banana
- Frozen Strawberries
- Shredded Coconut
- 1/4 Carrot
- Coconut Water
- Orange Juice
- Ice (If desired)
It’s like a burst of sunshine right up in your facial region – no SPF required.
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